7 January 2021 | Senate Chaplain Barry Black condemned the January 6 violence in the United States Capitol building in a prayer as he closed a joint session of Congress in the early hours of January 7.

“We deplore the desecration of the United States Capitol building, the shedding of innocent blood, the loss of life, and the quagmire of dysfunction that threaten our democracy.”

The prayer came shortly after President-elect Joe Biden’s victory was certified by lawmakers and hours after violent protestors had broken into the Capitol building.

The New York Times reported Black “condemned the violence of the day, acknowledged divisions in the nation and called for healing and unity,” in his prayer.

The newspaper said the Adventist minister’s prayers in the Senate “have long been laced with rebukes for the infighting of the lawmakers surrounding him, and his words have often served as a conscience check for those on both sides of the aisle.”

“These tragedies have reminded us that words matter, and that the power of life and death is in the tongue,” said Black on Thursday morning. “We have been warned that eternal vigilance continues to be freedom’s price.”

Black asked for God to help lawmakers see the common humanity in each other and “strengthened our resolve to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies domestic as well as foreign.”

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